Record Review - 3 August 14 2003

To locally based producer Chris Brann — known, depending on instrumentation and accompaniment, as Wamdue, P’Taah or Ananda Project — house music is a construct holding him both captive and captivated. It’s the form in which his talents and reputation are tapped and trapped. Brann longs to make substantial music in a forum where sometimes a track is old news barely out of the shrinkwrap. So Brann has constructed what amounts to his own subdivision — a niche of percussive pump where he sets the walls and leaves his collaborators to decorate them freely.

For fans, the blueprint in question is of Ananda Project, Brann’s jazzy post-Mr. Fingers/Marshall Jefferson deep house arm. And the interior design is Ananda’s sophomore release, Morning Light. Though originally assembled merely for a one-off, the silken soulfulness of Ananda’s debut, Release, garnered so much praise Brann reprised and expanded his ensemble, assembling 12 vocalists and musicians for a second round.

What dawns with Morning Light is an amalgam of melancholic melodics, vibe-rant meditations, fluid fusion funk, sultry swing and the complex crystalline simplicity of plaintive post-bop. The acoustic-flecked Balearic blissout is subtle as it is supple. Tracks including “I Hear You Dreaming,” “Big Boat” and “Justice, Mercy” aim squarely at headspace, while “Tangerine,” “Kiss Kiss Kiss” and “Can You Find the Heart” could suit club space. Morning Light finds Brann in house, and at home.